Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Post - By Request

Things are hotting up in the Pacific. China, an emerging superpower, are flexing their muscles against an economic giant in the form of Japan.

Basically the story goes a little something like this. In the time of the early 1900s Japan was a military machine and hell-bent on colonising the rest of Asia. In 1910 Japan annexed Korea after having killed Queen Min in 1895. Apparently her death was not a nice incident. Japan ruled Korea until 1945 when the Yanks kicked them out. A similar story could be told about China and several other Asian countries.

China copped a lot of the Japanese war-time aggression. We could mention Nanking. I could do some study on it but I'd rather my mate Nick let us know the story.

To cut a long story short, the Japanese history books don't mention the atrocities that their military personnel carried out during war-time. The Japanese government refuses to apologise for the atrocities committed, fearing that they would have to pay compensation. There is no mention, correct me if I am wrong, of the women of Korea who were forced into prostitution for the Japanese army personnel, the so-called "Comfort Women". Wikipedia has a decent article on the matter.

What we are seeing now in China, by way of protests against Japanese-owned companies and embassies, is the Chinese people being allowed to voice their opposition to the way their people were treated by the Japanese so long ago. If the Chinese government doesn't crackdown on the protests, as would be normal procedure, then they are ratifying the protest. Until the Japanese take responsibility for the actions of their people the protests will get stronger. Korean people feel the same way. Every time the history books in Japan are watered down there are mass protests in Korea.

Over the centuries there have been many wars fought between Japan and China, with many of them being fought on Korean soil. Korea was just caught in the middle.

It is time for Japan to apologise for its warcrimes. The voice is getting louder.

As a footnote, I heard on the news this morning that Japan may be willing to make an apology to Australia for what happened during the war. This could get interesting. Will little Johnny sell us out - an apology as long as there is no compensation tied to it, perhaps?

Thanks for the heads up, Nick.


Hammysmum said...
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Nick Souter said...

yo Hambone, yes it's very interesting watching it all on the news. I'm not sure about Korea, but in China and Japan it's all about not losing face, both countries are just as bad as each other sometimes! One thing we have be aware of now though. I agree with Chinese anger at japan's whaite washing of history, but I also sympathise with the Jpanese. Todays generation of Japanese are young liberal minded people, just like the Americans, they may not have been taught their history, but the past was not their fault. China however is still being brainwashed by the government, they pump them with the bad histroy of Japan because its the only propaganda crap they can still feed them to keep power, it keeps the focus away from their own problems. Think of the murders in Tibet, the million of deaths in the Great Leap Forward, where is the mass protests and demonstrations for this? China is growing in power, but they still have a lot of developing to do yet.

Hammy said...

"Those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it."

Think of the benefit to many nations should Japan officially say "sorry" to the countries in the region for its warcrimes. Massive.

Germans of today know very well about what happened during the wars as no-one will let them forget it. The Japanese on the otherhand are taught that it never happened. That's wrong in my book. And it is wrong in their history books.

The past is certainly not the fault of today's people. Hell, we Aussies should issue an apology to the Aborigines quick smart.

Yes, the Chinese Government should atone for what it has done too.

I don't see the victims of Japan's aggression forgetting anytime soon. Mind you, many young Australians feel that we don't need to fight any wars to maintain our freedom and have long forgotten what our soldiers have done to maintain this ideal. We should never forget and we should never glorify war.

gleek said...

well, you got your wish. koizumi apologized today..

Hammy said...

I had to listen to the news a couple of times this morning before I believed it. I think that this has wide ranging ramifications - as long as the Japanese Government follows through and doesn't dump Koizumi as leader.